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While the UK harvest for rapeseed has declined since 2017/18 – down 49.8% by 2021/22 – thanks to pest damage and bad weather, the similar properties of these edible oils make them very substitutable as an ingredient, explained Clive Black.  

However, Black noted that the Europe region – which represents a huge producer and exporter of rapeseed oil – is enjoying favourable crop conditions for oilseeds, which should mitigate anxiety about disappointing yields this harvest.  

“It may also help encourage above expected planting in the August period this year, as oilseed as a species is often less demanding from a fertiliser perspective,”​ he continued. “We do caution though the long lead time on the planting this Autumn cycle, meaning the prices of cooking oils will likely stay supported for some time.” 

Prices to remain high  

Prices would continue to remain at their current levels until the harvest of summer 2023, Black posits. He also pointed out that plantings of Australia canola and US soybean would likely be up by the winter of 2022, offering a suitable replacement for sunflower or rapeseed oil. 

“From a legislative point of view, the proposed re-work of Germany’s environmental restrictions on biofuel production would free up c.5% of German agricultural land for food dedicated oilseed production and in the short-term allow relocation of existing rapeseed oil towards food use rather than biofuel,​ Black added. 

“It may also help repatriate a significant chunk of UK rapeseed exports to Germany, which usually accounts for 10-20% of the total, through this is still insignificant in the bigger picture.”